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Federer Struggles to Advance at French Open
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Swiss world number one Roger Federer kept alive his dream of completing a career Grand Slam at this year's Roland Garros as he struggled through Frenchman Thierry Ascione 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (8) to reach the third round on Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old, who has not dropped a set in his first two matches, will next play Italian Potito Starace.

After failing to serve out the match at 5-4, Federer surprisingly found himself in danger of dropping the third set and being forced to return on Thursday to complete the match.

Federer held three match points at 6-3 in the third-set tie-break but Ascione, continuing his superb performance in the set, reeled off four straight points to hold set point.

Federer had to save two set points before converting his fourth match point to close out the match.

Federer recorded 28 winners against Ascione's 10, and could have wrapped up the match much earlier: He won the first two sets in 48 minutes but converted just five of 21 break point opportunities in the match.

Argentine 15th seed David Nalbandian, who has reached two Roland Garros semifinals in the past three years, set up an mouth-watering third-round showdown with rising French star Gael Monfils following a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win over Spaniard Ivan Navarro Pastor.

Monfils upset Nalbandian's countryman Juan Ignacio Chela 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Last year at Roland Garros he won three consecutive five-set matches before falling in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.

(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)

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